Tara O'Neal, a forward for Owings Mills' girls basketball team and David Turner, a wide receiver/cornerback for Southwestern, were never the focus of their teams, but they never missed a practice and have excelled in the classroom.
Last night both were rewarded for their dedication as the overall winners at the McCormick Unsung Hero awards banquet at the Hunt Valley Inn.
Each will receive a scholarship valued at $3,000 per year for four years from McCormick.
Last night's banquet, which was attended by more than 700, honored 98 football and girls basketball players from 65 Baltimore-area public, private and parochial schools.
"All of these people here, I didn't think I had a chance," said Turner, who helped Southwestern rebound from an 0-9 record in 1989 to a 4-3 finish in 1990 while maintaining a 3.2 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale.
Southwestern coach Fred Kais said of Turner: "David was always willing to help the other players with learning the plays. David finds time to assist his fellow students. His hard work and positive attitude are beyond belief."
O'Neal became a starter after being the least-used player the previous season. She did the dirty work for Owings Mills, which was 12-10 last season, while maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average.
"I took the ball out of bounds and got the rebounds," she said. "I averaged five points, which wasn't a lot, but it helped."
"Tara's pride and dedication to our program ar unending," said Owings Mills coach Lisa Meyer. "Although she is not the most skilled player, she is very smart and extremely coachable."
O'Neal has been accepted at Moravian College, where she plans to major in mathematics. Turner has been accepted at Maryland, where he will major in engineering.
The McCormick award was established in 1950 by the late Charles P. McCormick. Its goal is to recognize team play and honor those who contribute substantially to the success of their teams without acclaim.
University of Maryland athletic director Andy Geiger was the featured speaker.